BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — News 8 has obtained new 911 audio that shows the moments when a driver nearly hit multiple people at a Battle Creek Meijer on Aug. 8.
Investigators believe that driver is the same man who allegedly hit and killed a woman with his car at a Walmart the very next day.
On Aug. 8 around 10:15 a.m., the caller dialed 911, frantically telling dispatch a driver was intentionally trying to hit shoppers in a Battle Creek Meijer parking lot.
“There is a red Audi driving through here at a high rate of speed trying to hit people,” the caller told dispatch.
The caller’s account of that morning, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, has been corroborated by multiple witnesses.
“Yell at the people to get out,” the caller said on the phone.
“What row is it in?” dispatch asked the caller. “Can you tell at all?”
“It’s right in the front of the store,” the caller replied. “Going up and down the store.”
Another witness, Shelley Hewitt, told News 8 that she was waiting in the pharmacy pickup line outside the store when she saw the driver take off toward shoppers.
“We sat there for a second, and all of a sudden he started revving his engine very high and just shot off like a rocket,” Hewitt said.
Hewitt said the driver targeted up to five people, just barely missing one.
“The first woman he got within an inch,” Hewitt said. “You couldn’t hardly see air between her and the car.”
After missing his targets, witnesses say the driver stopped his car and started waiting.
“He got to the end of the line and turned around like he was coming back,” Hewitt said.
When the driver stopped, that’s when the caller dialed 911.
“It’s sitting right at the parking lot like it’s going to come back down,” the caller told dispatch.
Investigators believe the driver was 37-year-old Xuan Vo. That’s the same man accused of hitting and killing 65-year-old Sandy Villarreal of Kalamazoo with his Maroon Acaura at an Oshtemo Township Walmart. That happened just the day after the Battle Creek Meijer incident.
Xuan Vo is charged with open murder for hitting and killing Villarreal.
According to court records, he has not been charged with any crimes related to the Battle Creek Meijer incident.
Villarreal’s granddaughter, Ree Adams, spoke with News 8 after the killing.
“He killed my best friend for no reason,” Adams said. “And I never would’ve thought she’d been murdered.”
Vo later allegedly told investigators he was angry, lonely and missed his ex-girlfriend, so he decided to kill someone with his vehicle.
A Battle Creek police sergeant told News 8 no witnesses were able to get the driver’s license plate, a detail that would have been critical for investigators. Making things worse, the sergeant said Meijer’s surveillance video didn’t capture any of the incident.
Dispatch had asked the caller if she could get a look at it.
“If you’re able to see the plate at all without putting yourself in any danger … I do have officers on the way,” dispatch said.
“OK no,” the caller said. “There is no way. Because he’s turned around (incomprehensible) at the end of the parking lot.”
“It’s turned around heading like it’s going to head back this way,” the caller added.
The driver took off away from the store, leaving the crowd of shoppers distraught.
“All the way home we were just shocked,” Hewitt said. “We just couldn’t believe what had just happened.”
For those who were there that morning in Battle Creek and later heard what happened in Oshtemo Township, they wish they could’ve done something.
“We feel helpless,” Hewitt said. “We feel we’re as guilty as this guy because we couldn’t do anything.”